Don’t Drink 40 Shots With The Undertaker. The Voices In Your Head Craft Your Success

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Don't Drink 40 Shots With The Undertaker. The Voices In Your Head Craft Your Success
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“God, how we get our fingers in each other’s clay. That’s friendship, each playing the potter to see what shapes we can make of each other.” 

― Ray Bradbury

This episode is about the stakeholders in your head and how they shape your success and also about drinking 40 shots with wrestling guru the Undertaker.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE!

Only listen to the good voices and don’t drink 40 shots.

Our Puppy Ate A Lot of Tampons
Our Puppy Ate A Lot of Tampons, She Survived. She shouldn’t have listened to those voices.

LINK WE MENTION

https://www.thirstyfornews.com/2023/01/17/undertaker-made-rookie-wrestler-drink-40-shots-with-him-after-stealing-lex-lugers-girl/

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! It’s taking a bit of a hiatus, but there are a ton of tips over there.

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

The Vulnerable Gnome

Be Brave Friday

Yesterday, there was a package.

And the package was addressed to me.

Inside that package wasn’t actually a present I ordered for someone else, which is what I was expecting. Inside that package was the unexpected; it was a present for me.

Not just any present. A handmade present.

Not just any handmade present. A gnome.

I love gnomes almost as much as manatees. That’s a big love. And here was this brown, adorable gnome that had travelled in a dark box surrounded by packaging, taking this journey where he didn’t know his reception, didn’t know his outcome, didn’t know if he’d get there, didn’t know if he’d be loved when he did.

Jumping up and down, I hugged the gnome to me and started tearing up, because I am so lucky and I know what it’s like to feel like that gnome: boxed in, afraid, not really knowing where I’m headed and getting bumped around a bit in the transit.

Maybe you feel a bit like that sometimes, too?

the most excellent gnome

But in the package was also a handmade card about being brave that I truly needed this week. It was like getting the best, biggest, unexpected hug (if you’re a person who likes hugs).

When you write books or a news blog, when you share your art, when you share your thoughts, you put yourself out there and that is vulnerable. I’ve been feeling pretty vulnerable these past two weeks.

This vulnerability is especially when you aren’t perfect. Believe me, I am SO far from perfect. And my ego wants me to never make a mistake. Ever. But my heart is so lucky and blessed when people let me know that I have. I am often shocked by how kind and gentle people are with me when I misspell their names.

Despite that, the other night I went to bed thinking about the news blog and the ways I earn money (not the news blog, I put out all that content for free because I want people who can’t afford the news to have at least some news), and I had such a crisis of faith because of a small error.  

“I can’t keep doing this. Why am I doing this?”

I whined. A lot. Luckily, the dogs didn’t mind.

And the next morning, I woke up feeling the same way, which never happens. In the shower, I thought, “I need a sign from the universe about whether to keep doing this.”

The first email I saw was from a journalist subscribing to my news blog and thanking me for the straightforward reporting. And then I received another kind email about the same thing. And then I realized what I dork I am.

It is sometimes so hard to believe in yourself. It is sometimes so hard to forgive yourself when you aren’t perfectly perfect. And then—whoosh—in sweeps the universe on the backs of kind humans who go out of their way to say something kind.

How amazing is that?

I’m very lucky. Not only do I get gnomes in the mail. I get kindness and correction with kindness. How cool is that? I know so many people in local government who get the exact opposite every day.

I hope they get kindness and I hope that you get that too, and I hope that you can be brave enough and vulnerable enough to go out there and learn new things, run for political office despite people spitting venom at you, support your causes, create words and art and story and friendships. Because sometimes it all can seem so overwhelming.

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown writes that the biggest myth about vulnerability is that it is weakness.

She also says, “Vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness.”

I am so lucky that I have the gift of knowing so many of you and for knowing Susie via the dynamic duo of Art and Liz. I hope you all get to have a lot of Susies in your lives. And gnomes. I hope you all get a lot of gnomes.

You Don’t Have To Be Brave

Living Happy and Stuff

Photo: Me

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What the what?” Or maybe you’ve put some expletives in there. I’ve been posting about being brave week after week after week as I push against my social anxiety and post paintings.

Here is the thing: I grew up in a family full of fear. My older sister was allegedly afraid of grass when she was little. Grass! My mother was afraid of a litany of things: birds, closed-in spaces, wide-open spaces, high spaces, water over her head, bridges in a storm. My brother inherited the bird fear, or maybe he learned it. So did my sister.

my adorable mom

And I grew up thinking that I didn’t want to be anything like that. No offense to my mom because she was wonderful, but she changed the channel if Donald Duck was on and he’s a cartoon. She wouldn’t go to parks with seagulls. She wouldn’t go near a feather pillow.

I grew up chanting “You have to face your fears” when my television turned on at night all by itself or when I had to take an algebra test or when I convinced twelve girls at a fourth grade birthday party to all hold hands and confront whatever the heck was making that groaning noise in the kitchen. Spoiler: it was the fridge and a snoring dog.

I faced my fears one after another. My voice? Check, make a podcast. Not scary enough. Make a live podcast. Art? Check, do some art. Post it online. People constantly telling me I made a mistake? Check, make a news blog without an editor.

A Friend’s Words

One night last month, a friend took me aside at a gathering and whispered, “You know, you don’t always have to be brave.”

She had a beer in her hand and a determined glow in her eye.

I gawped at her.

She nodded and twirled away back to the gathering. And I was left with her words.

You don’t always have to be brave.

It was shocking. It was the opposite of my mantra. I think our society (or a lot of us in it) believe that you always have to be brave. But life isn’t about always facing your fear, is it? If you’re afraid of sky diving, do you really have to sky dive? If you’re afraid of going bankrupt, do you really have to lose all your money? If you’re afraid of having a concussion, do you have to give yourself a concussion?

Facing all my fears has definitely expanded my world, but it’s okay for me to enjoy the world I’m in just as I’m in it, too. There can be balance.

You Don’t Always Have To Be Brave.

That’s the thing. There is sometimes a power to not pushing yourself into doing things that are really scary for you — like downhill skiing when you have no depth perception. Cough. Yes, cough. That is me.

It’s okay to sometimes hunker down, build up your reserves, and just be. That’s right. Just be. It’s okay to be who you are right in that moment. And that might not be the same who you are that you are in the very next moment. Humans get to change, to discover, to grow, to decide when and if they should be brave or not.

If you want to, you can come hang out with me at Living Happy. I’m much better about posting there. 🙂 No pressure though!

The Wise Man From the Cruise Ship

“Whoa, that fell right in,” he said.

We both peered into the sewer grate, me and a nice older man who was off a cruise ship. There near the edge, submerged in the water, was the padlock.

“It made a perfect arch when it fell off the cart,” I said.

“What’s the lock for?” he asked, his back a bit crooked, shoulders a bit slumped, face a little sweaty like he’d had a hard day exploring our little national park.

“We’re starting a new business. Down here.” I motioned at the cruise ship tender line, the series of small out buildings that people like me had staked a claim in for a rental fee, trying to make a business, to become something different or become something more.

“Let’s see if we can get the grate off,” he said, bending and grabbing the heavy metal bars. He tugged. “Nope.”

We tugged together. It didn’t move even an inch.

“That’s so nice of you to try,” I said. “We can buy another.”

“It flew off perfectly,” he said, laughing.

“I wish someone had videotaped it. It was a beautiful fall.”

He kept laughing. “It just went perfectly in.”

We stopped staring at each other’s laughing faces and back down at the lock in the murky water.

“It’s not a bad omen,” he said. “It’s a good one.”

“How is that?”

“Because you’re laughing. If you can laugh? You can get through anything.”

“Even failures?” I asked.

I think I might have made him pause for a second, maybe taken him aback, but then he smiled again, standing up really straight. “Failures especially.” He winked. “But you won’t fail.”

Shaun goes fishing



Shaun’s pretty amazing, honestly. Just like that cruise ship guy.


We have a lot of new things that I’m afraid of failing at and it would be awesome if you checked them out.

First there’s a new LIVING HAPPY blog where we talk about our journey toward happiness despite all the chaos that is our life. We delve into a bit of psychology, too. Also, all the writing tips are over there.

And I have a local news blog.

Finally, we have a super cool new true crime podcast, DUDE NO! I hope you’ll check it out. Our second episode comes out tomorrow. It’s always on Tuesdays.

Are you a cheerleading mutant?

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Are you a cheerleading mutant?
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Cheerleading mutant. It sounds pretty awful, but it’s actually a good thing. Because that optimism and gratitude help make your brain healthier and life better. That gives you the sort of cheerleading persona, but where does the mutant come in? Hang on and we’re going to tell you . . .

First let’s define gratitude

“Gratitude is associated with a personal benefit that was not intentionally sought after, deserved, or earned but rather because of the good intentions of another person” (Emmons & McCullough, 2004).

Arthur C. Brooks wrote in an article called, “Choose to Be Grateful. It Will Make You Happier.”

‘Beyond rotten circumstances, some people are just naturally more grateful than others. A 2014 article in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience identified a variation in a gene (CD38) associated with gratitude. Some people simply have a heightened genetic tendency to experience, in the researchers’ words, “global relationship satisfaction, perceived partner responsiveness and positive emotions (particularly love).” That is, those relentlessly positive people you know who seem grateful all the time may simply be mutants.”

Though we may not have those genes, we can make the choice to become happier by working on being more grateful. It’s like that smiling thing, we talked about ages ago (last month) where if you really smile and move all your facial muscles, your brain gets tricked into thinking you’re happy.

Brooks says,

“If grinning for an uncomfortably long time like a scary lunatic isn’t your cup of tea, try expressing gratitude instead. According to research published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, gratitude stimulates the hypothalamus (a key part of the brain that regulates stress) and the ventral tegmental area (part of our “reward circuitry” that produces the sensation of pleasure).”

Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, believes that if you write notes to people telling them you’re grateful for them, it makes you happier. That outgoing gratitude makes you more positive. He suggests writing two a day.

According to positive psychology.com’s Madhuleena Roy Chowdhyr,

“Simple practices like maintaining a gratitude journal, complimenting the self, or sending small tokens and thank you notes can make us feel a lot better and enhance our mood immediately. Couple studies have also indicated that partners who expressed their thankfulness to each other often, could sustain their relationships with mutual trust, loyalty, and had long-lasting happy relationships.”

“It was revealed that the reason why some of us are naturally more grateful than others, is the neurochemical differences at the Central Nervous System. People who express and feel gratitude have a higher volume of grey matter in the right inferior temporal gyrus (Zahn, Garrido, Moll, & Grafman, 2014).”

The article goes on to say that gratitude lessens pain, improves the quality of your sleep, gets rid ‘of toxic” emotions and helps anxiety, depression and stress regulation.


SOURCES!

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/01/26/could-gratitude-your-genes/jEFJBo92dxOHLa1trSmDKN/story.html

https://positivepsychology.com/neuroscience-of-gratitude/

https://positivepsychology.com/neuroscience-of-gratitude/

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/woman-warned-someone-secretly-living-27635233


SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! It’s taking a bit of a hiatus, but there are a ton of tips over there.

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Allowing People To Be Kind Is Being Brave

Today, I made my first GOFUNDME that was for a person and not a nonprofit and that was a little scary.

I don’t know how to express how important and lovely it is to help others, especially when there are people like my friend who spend so much time helping to create things like playgrounds and events and keeping theaters alive.

And this guy? He’s worked so hard to build up his career and he’s a yoyng dad and now he’s already piled up $16,000 in medical debt and that just hurts my heart so much.

And yes, he’s one of my best friends.

Here we are.
And here he is with his cutie.

It feels like so much of our lives is about reaching out and doing things that make us anxious or vulnerable, which is why I made the new newsletter LIVING HAPPY about our trials and life at home and how we keep on keeping on and hope that you will, too. I hope you’ll check it out.

This one is about the kiddo lying that they slept on a couch (a hard, hard couch) at Disney

Some people make kindness feel and seem so effortless. When our dog, Gabby died, the amazing and talented Rebecca Van Slyke sent us this beautiful art that she created of Gabby. It’s gorgeous. She’s gorgeous and talented. It’s below. Look at it! Isn’t it amazing? ❤

People being kind? It’s really people being brave. So, don’t be afraid to reach out and be kind today, okay?

And also don’t forget to let people reach out and be kind to you, too.

No More Hiding Who We Are

Having a kid who isn’t doing well

Shaun and the kiddo a couple of years ago

This week the psychologist for the school system looked at my spouse (Shaun) and me across the island in our kitchen and said, “You two are really very grounded.”

            He is lovely and kind.

            But as we’ve dealt with crisis after crisis with our kiddo, I’ve noticed how other people are surprised when they come into our house to talk to our thirteen-year-old. They say things like, “Oh, it’s so peaceful here.”

            “Your house is so clean.”

            “You have such a lovely, quirky decorating style.”

            “You both are so . . . responsive.”

            “ . . . intelligent.”

            “ . . . kind.”

            “ . . . receptive.”

            “ . . . caring.”

            “ . . . well-balanced.”

            “ . . . supportive . . . together.”

            The kindness is wonderful, obviously. But it’s really got me thinking about the surprise in people’s voices when they give these compliments. All these people have been lovely, but what they’ve taught me these past few weeks is that when you have a child who is having a significantly hard time either mentally or developmentally, people seem to expect you to be that way as well.

            One of the reasons I’m writing about this is that I don’t talk a lot about our kiddo. There are a lot of reasons for that.

Reason 1

            When their adopted mother (I am just the bonus mom married to the adopted dad, complicated, I know) was still parenting all the time, she really didn’t like it when I even posted a photo of our kiddo with a friend’s child. It made her sad. But we’ve had this kiddo for two years now and I’m done with worrying about what someone who rarely sees their child thinks.

            So that isn’t what is holding me back any longer.

Reason 2

            I was thinking that I wanted to protect the kiddo’s privacy, but I never did that with my older biological daughter as she was growing up.

So why would I be protecting this kiddo’s privacy.

I think it’s not because of internet bad guys.

I think that it would be because of stigma. And you know what? I’m done with stigma.


Stigma

It’s okay to have a kid who breaks your heart and that you worry for, and who you want to magically be able to control their temper and make the right decisions and be able to socialize in a way that they themselves want to.

            We have a kid like this.

            We don’t hide it in real life. We don’t need to hide it online either. Our kid knows that they are getting special programs (or were) and a different educational experience.


The Other Side Of Not Hiding

But it’s preconceived notions of us as parents, even by professionals, that is the real reason we’re going to be super open about this part of our journey and other parts, too.

            Having a child in crisis doesn’t make us any less who we were as people before. It doesn’t make us unclean, ungrounded, unintelligent, uncaring, or unbalanced. It gives us stress as we navigate the systems trying to find the best help and options for that child, but it doesn’t change who we inherently are or how we inherently love.

As Yin Paradies, João Luiz Bastos and Naomi Priest write in “Prejudice, Stigma, Bias, Discrimination, and Health from Part III – Prejudice Reduction and Analysis in Applied Contexts,”

Prejudice, stigma, bias, and discrimination are all expressions of oppression, “a concept that describes a relationship between groups or categories of people in which a dominant group benefits from the systematic abuse, exploitation, and injustice directed toward a subordinate group” (Johnson, 2000, p. 293). 

            It’s stigma that makes all the people who have come into our home this last month be surprised. It’s stigma that makes us think we have to protect or hide things about our selves or our lives when they don’t mesh with society’s typical standards.

            Stigma leads to bias. It leads to preconceived notions. It leads to not understanding each other.

            People have always asked me why I am so open about things, why I always want town and nonprofit boards, town councils, other people to feel open too when they’re ready. It’s because this. I don’t think there is anything to hide.

            Hiding makes you feel shame. 

            Hiding also makes you lie. Sometimes. Sometimes a lot. I’ve watched that destroy people.

            Lying often makes you anxious. Anxiety holds you back.

            All of that sucks.


            I’ve never hidden tons of things about myself, which doesn’t mean that I talk about them constantly or even often, and that’s because I don’t want to have those things become all that I am. Because I’m a lot more than being a person who has survived a lot of things, a person with sloshy s’s, with epilepsy, with history, with a bonus kid who needs so much help. And so are you. So are all of us.

            When our kid was upset the other day because of a terrible thing they’d said to their principal about their teachers—a thing that will have huge repercussions—they slumped on their bed and tears formed. For our kid? Tears are a big deal and rare.

            We’d already talked about choice and responsibility. We’d already talked about how once you say or do things, you can’t always take them back, especially if that talk or act is violent. We talked about what happens when you say or do violent things. We talk about this all the time. All. The. Time.

            But this day, it was almost like they’d got it and they said, “I hate who I am. There is nothing good in me.”

            And I listed all the things that were good. How they loved and were so protective of their internet friends. How they could create entire AUs and make people laugh with their droll humor. How they took good care of their cats. How they were amazing at digital art and making animations, and getting better at it all the time.

            It might not be enough that practical list, and it might not be enough for you or me or any of us sometimes, but it’s what you have to hang on to when you’re facing stigma and crisis and self-doubt. You have to remember to try to live the truth of who you are.

            Hiding?

            It only brings us down.


            Shaun and I are starting this Substack called LIVING HAPPY and we’re going to be open and say to hell with stigma. This is who we are. This is what we’re dealing with. This is how we’re still happy.

We’ll have another one for writing tips pretty soon.

And there will be free and $5 a month options. It is basically a newsletter that is helpful and honest and true. It’ll be pretty damn personal and pretty damn real.

There will be posts once or twice a week. Some free. Some only for subscribers.

I hope you’ll come hang out with us there. I hope you’ll be on our living happy journey with us, too, despite everything.

No.

Because of everything.

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